In praise of sheepdogs...
I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
(Tim) One of the men just interviewed and accepted into ClearNote Pastors College for matriculation this coming September is a middle-aged recently-retired law enforcement officer whose gift is keeping the peace. He's trained men for SWAT team duties and has a deep understanding of the weaknesses and strengths of warriors. What will he add to CNPC's curriculum?
This morning, this brother sent me the poem below which has been widely circulated within the law enforcement community in recent years. As I read, I found myself thinking what an excellent commentary it is on Jesus' teaching in John 10 on hirelings, wolves, the flock, and the Good Shepherd.
Fellow pastors and elders: We're all happy to live in a nation that's never suffered any serious invasion by hostile forces, but we are silent when our President is attacked precisely for his vigilance in our behalf. We're all pleased as punch to live in the suburbs where we never hear the crackle of gunfire as we watch our male soaps of urban warfare, but we look askance at discussions of weapons, wondering what kind of monsters have a zeal for this or that brand of hand gun? We worship in Protestant churches holding to Protestant doctrine faithful to Scripture, but our skin crawls when our pastor warns us against heresy. Any heresy. Any heresy at all--but particularly Roman Catholicism.
In other words, we live in peace given to us by the Man of Blood; we live in the midst of a civil security given us by men of blood who laid down their lives for the sheep; but then we pull back in horror when one of them barks, kills a wolf, or comes to church with blood on his hands. "He's so dirty! He should be Baptist or Pentecostal."
But who is it, really, who has blood on his hands? The cop who shoots the murderer, or the cop who accepts money to look the other way? The counselor who turns the child rapist in to the civil authority, or the counselor who takes money from him to keep his step daughter quiet and compliant? The pastor who warns day and night, with tears, or the one who suggests and wonders and intuits and nuances and makes a lot of money for his church by selling videos and MP3s of his psychological probings and flatteries?
What will my friend add to the next three years of ClearNote Pastors College?
A better question may be what he'll learn from us? Pray God he will not learn to be a hireling.
* * *
by Officer Samuel Jeppsen
Of all the creatures who live on God's green earth,
of all those that spawn, lay eggs or that give birth,
from the human, the lion, the tiger or even the bear,
there is one thing that all God's creatures share.
They will all move away from the sound of the gun.
There is but one that will move toward it and not run.
That one, that singular creature, wears a human face.
He brings both misery and joy to the human race.
So who is the one who goes toward the sound of the gun?
When all other creatures, man or beast, turn and run?
It is the warrior, that's who! And he's like no other creature.
No, no other creature on the face of the earth bears that feature.
But there are two kinds of warriors, the good and the bad.
Two kinds of warriors that make us happy or sad.
At a distance, you may think that both kinds look alike.
But inside, the warriors are as different as day and night.
To one, it's an opportunity to take advantage or to subject.
To the other, it's a feeling of duty. It's a need to protect.
Yes, the two kinds of warriors are different throughout.
It's the wolf and the sheepdog that I'm talking about.
The majority of people are kind, no harm would they bring.
They are good people who always try to do the right thing.
They are as the sheep in the field, going about their daily lives,
trying to better themselves and others as opportunities arise.
The wolf roams the edges of the field, feeding on the sheep.
When he catches one not looking,he sinks his teeth in deep.
He rips and tears their life apart, causing mayhem and disaster,
not caring about the pain he brings or the pain he will leave thereafter.
He looks for the old, the lame or the weak, before moving in to make his kill.
He'll run in packs, no honor has he, his soul is ugly, his thinking ill.
The wolf, a pirate and predator, is feared by everyone who roams the field.
All except for the sheepdog who tries to keep order and carries a shield.
The sheep seldom think about the sheepdog, their lives busy with other things.
But they like knowing that he's there, they like the security he brings.
His duty is to protect the sheep and fight the wolf, even to the loss of his life.
And he prays God will understand his inner scars that came from all the
So when next you see a police motorcade for yet another fallen sheepdog go by, say a prayer for those that follow him, they'll all have a tear in their eye.
Protecting the sheep and fighting the wolves is a duty the sheepdog feels in his heart.
May he rest in God's grace, in a heavenly place, may his memory never depart.
* * *
On a side note, here's a sermon given at our last presbytery (Ohio Valley; PCA) meeting by Pastor Mark Cary of the South Dayton Presbyterian Church. I listened to it last night, so it was fresh in my mind as I read the above poem. Those of you called by God to be elders, Titus 2 women, pastors, or deacons would gain wisdom from this sermon, I believe. (I should add that Pastor Cary has no responsibility for any of the text, above.)